Ex-Wrestler Goes To Bat For McMahon - Calls Out MLB
By Matthew Harrak | February 16, 2009
Jesse Ventura has always been one to speak his mind - whether it was as a professional wrestler, the Governor of Minnesota or a concerned citizen. But MLB commissioner Bud Selig may not like what Ventura had to say over the weekend.
"In the early '90s, the federal government came into pro wrestling and tried to put (WWE Chairman) Vince McMahon in prison for steroid use of wrestlers," Ventura told NBC's affiliate in Denver. "My question is: They've now determined 104 baseball players failed their steroid test in 2003 - 104. They indicted Vince McMahon, why aren't they indicting Bud Selig? He's the head of baseball, it happened on his watch."
The baseball controversy hit fever pitch last week when Alex Rodriguez admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs for three years between 2001-03. Rodriguez was one of 104 players that tested positive in a 2003 test that was supposed to be anonymous and merely for informational purposes.
In 1993, McMahon, who was CEO at the time, was indicted amid wrestling's steroid controversy. In 1994, he was put on trial, accused of distributing steroids. He was found not guilty.
"What you have here is two sets of law enforcement," Ventura told the TV station. "One set: 'Oh, pro wrestling, let's go after the head of that and put him in prison for steroid use.' And pro wrestling is not even an athletic competition. We went to court and said we're sports entertainment. Here, you have a legitimate athletic competition with 104 guys using illegal drugs - cheating - and where's the indictment of Bud Selig on this?
"They indicted Vince McMahon. He had to beat it with his own lawyers or go to prison," Ventura said. "How come Selig isn't being treated the same way?"
For his part, Selig had harsh words for Rodriguez last week after the Yankee star's admission.
"What Alex did was wrong and he will have to live with the damage he has done to his name and reputation," Selig said. He also said Rodriguez "shamed the game."
Ventura, who admitted in the '90s that he used steroids while he was a professional wrestler in the '80s, doubts that Selig and the other MLB owners were ignorant of the apparently rampant steroid use.
"You can't tell me for one minute that Bud Selig and the owners didn't know," Ventura told the TV station. "They were profiting from it. Baseball was dead in the water until the big home run race between (Mark) McGwire and Sosa - Sammy - and that rejuvenated baseball, made all the profits so Bud Selig could make $17 million a year."